Facing Down Hepatitis C: Reducing Symptoms and Getting Cured
Last updated: June 2023
Mostly, we want to put hep C down, as in destroy it and send it into oblivion forever. Facing hep being able to confront the diagnosis and the things that typically come with it. Those are normally called symptoms (not side effects), but no matter what we call them, they can range from none at all to nasty examples of how some of us can be affected. Facing hep C down is just another way of saying or talking about how we deal with it.
Symptoms and liver damage
How bad the symptoms are is not always indicative of how much the virus has dome to diminish your health, and that includes the degree of liver damage (fibrosis). Some people will have virtually no damage while they have really rough symptoms, and I was one of that variety myself. My liver damage was stage two fibrosis (F2), which is moderate damage. Despite the moderate level of liver fibrosis, I had some fairly severe symptoms. They included awful fatigue/tiredness, brain fog with difficulty in my ability to focus on tasks, and I had joint pain and neuropathy in my feet and hands. Sounds awful, I know, and at times, it was certainly rough and caused me to isolate and affected my outlook on quality of life.
In these years, I had no hep C diagnosis aside from the last year when I sought treatment. There were no answers that worked as far as the cause of these symptoms, and I did not give up on trying to find out what was the cause and what was the solution, if there was one. It was the uncertainty that was the hardest part. I know many others have shared in this experience and how each of us deals with it varies. Perhaps you are new to all this, but I can say with confidence that my own experience is not unique, despite some variations, as we can expect.
Every person is different
How we face these things is uniquely individual. Hep C can change your life, even if only temporarily. It scared me, to be honest, and it was not any relief knowing, despite the years of not knowing. It was the lack of knowledge that made me afraid; plainly the cause of my fear. It was, in part, a result of my own anxiety issues at the time, but thinking my life was over dominated my thoughts at first.
That all changed in the months ahead, in amazing ways. The understanding and support I received thanks to the community of peers that I was fortunate to connect with made a world of difference. I was empowered by the understanding and lifted up by the kindness of my peers. They provided me with the strength to face hep C straight on, with the ability to stay focused on the future possibilities of a cure. Back then, the odds of cure were hovering around 40%, which was not great, but we fought, and we fought hard, facing each day with a determination to be hep C free. We were all successful eventually, with some of us treating with the newer DAA’s and I am still friends with many of the people who were part of our group. That is how we faced hep C down, and we won. Together.